The five things that keep a procurement officer up at night

The five things that keep a procurement officer up at night

150 150 Ellyne Phneah

Procurement officers have a lot on their minds, especially if they’re handling mobile communications-related concerns across regional offices. This privilege is easily taken for granted by management and employees; everyone just has an assigned office smartphone with the latest mobile technologies. 

GSMA Intelligence also predicts that Asia-Pacific will have 3.1 billion unique mobile subscribers by 2025, along with 83% smartphone connections, 11 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connections, and 845 million 5G connections! So procurement for work isn’t a big deal, right?

But it is a big deal. Behind the scenes, it took plenty for your procurement officers to get that phone and mobile service for you. Let’s talk about the five problems that give them cold sweats at night, as well as the solution your company can use to solve them (and give your officers a well-deserved break!).

1. “There is so much information to gather from all the markets, how can I do it fast and efficiently?”

The first step is to research all available options for their chief and the managers at headquarters. This includes ironing out what the regional and local requirements are for enterprise mobility, talking to each mobile operator, and corresponding back and forth for other concerns plus evaluating their proposals. 

Do it all over again for the next mobile operator, then the next, and so on. Lastly, move on to the next country. Rinse, lather, repeat.

This entire process isn’t just time-consuming; it is also resource-intensive. puts the entire weight of procurement on the officer’s shoulders. They would have to review each proposal, compare that with other proposals, adjust their expectations and contexts for the other local offices, and see which ones would benefit everyone. 

By the time they’re done, the enterprise’s needs and requirements may have changed—and the process would be repeated again. If only procurement had a single point of contact who can manage regional and local proposals for a mobile workforce strategy.

2. “How long would deployment take?”

So the contract’s been signed… but the work is far from over. Procurement officers now have to take charge of deployment per country, and according to tight schedule. The deployment of regional mobile services across local offices are usually stipulated to implement within a short time frame, where all employees must receive their SIMs and designated handsets from the local operator. They would also need to get up to speed on account access, permitted apps, and general usage terms for compliance, among other matters.

However, procurement officers from headquarters don’t have much control over this part; it’s the local operators and their local offices who determine when this can happen. And sometimes due to the local situations, even they won’t have any say in the matter. For example, if the Asia-Pacific markets they cater to are dealing with problems such as natural disasters, sociopolitical or economic events, or health crises, everyone has no choice but to wait it out or they will have to monitor the local situation closely and coordinate in a very detailed manner to obtain a tiny window to achieve the user mobile service onboarding.

3. “How can we regain visibility and control of our costs?”

All enterprises need to know exactly how much money is coming in—and, for a regular operational expense such as communications, exactly how much is going out. 

You could say it’s a non-negotiable part of business, but this information is valuable for another reason: it impacts both current budgets and cost-effectiveness. Procurement, especially for regional mobility, must be done wisely, especially now that the future of work is shifting in response to both workplace trends and a pandemic.

So it goes beyond getting the best price for everyone. It also involves having the visibility to know how the mobile plans are being used, when they should be paid, and for how much. Having a solution on hand that shows full data for mobile usage and spending plus budgeting options will ease procurement officers’ worries.

4. “What are our next steps?”

Another advantage of having extensive data on hand is that procurement officers can be in control of their expenses and become proactive instead of merely reactive. 

If they have the information they need when they need it, that data turns actionable. Enterprises can decide to stay with their current mobility plans or alter their allocations for the next business year, resulting in added control over costs.

Procurement officers can also look toward the future here. They can nudge enterprises to explore for more efficient and cost-saving options with operators for their fleet, as well as take on new mobile services and technologies with massive potential for all mobile workers—for example, 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), or Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS). 

5. “Something’s wrong. Who can I talk to?”

There is no such thing as a problem-free business contract. Inevitably, your enterprise will experience some hiccups with their mobile services. Demanding service quality from users at different situations and unforeseen expenses will surface at times, and new variations of mobile plans being introduced in order to meet the needs of technological changes. Enterprises will also gain or lose employees, which affect the number of handsets and SIMs activated.

Filing incident reports and negotiating contracts can be frustrating for anyone, even enterprises and procurement officers. Multiply these headaches by several local offices and a regional HQ, and factor in operators’ individual platforms and service-levels. The situation can go downhill in record time!

Placing all incident reports in one platform benefits both the enterprise and the operators. The enterprise gains more convenience and feels that effort is expended to keep their business. Meanwhile, operators maintain lucrative contracts and keep their businesses running.

One umbrella, four solutions

These five nightmare situations have one thing in common: each requires the procurement officer to face complex processes on their own. This makes their job unnecessarily difficult, but also leads to multiple opportunities for miscommunication among several parties.

Bridge Alliance’s Bridge Enterprise Services and Solutions (BESS) has a complete suite of solutions and services to make the job of procurement officer simpler: 

  • Service Management and Advisory: BESS does the market pricing coordination work for you, gathering all the proposals from Bridge Alliance Mobile Operators (BMOs) and giving the procurement officer a single proposal covering the entire region in scope. Bridge Alliance also takes charge of day-to-day service management with headquarters to report occurrences in the local offices.
  • Regional Procurement Management: BESS centralises mobile plan and device procurement across offices, enables order fulfilment and tracking, and allows order routing and approval for mobile devices and plans according to term contract.
  • Telecom Spend Management: BESS gives a full view of contract and spending data, and helps procurement officers budget mobility costs
  • Regional Incident Management: BESS groups all incident reports and escalations throughout offices, tracks each filed incident, and update responses status till remedy to ensure everything is back to normal.

Want to know more about BESS—or see it in action? Send us a message so we can help solve your enterprise mobility issues.

Also check out our latest whitepaper on regional mobility in the new normal, and how the forces of Asia’s market fragmentation holds procurement officers back. Download it here.